Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Multiple Pet Mania--House Cleaning

This week's theme for Multiple Pet Mania Month is house cleaning and grooming. Luckily for me, both pets are pretty low maintenance as far as grooming goes, so besides the usual brushing, furminating, and nail care, they don't require anything too special, so this week I'm just going to focus on the joys of housework with more than one pet. (Of course, as soon as I typed that, I noticed Soth had unidentifiable brown smudges on the side of his face and had to tackle him with a washcloth--sigh.)

What do you mean we don't need special grooming? Barley has stinky feet!

House cleaning is my least favorite part of owning any pet, much less multiple pets. I hate cleaning--every last part of it: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, mopping, dusting. I guess I can't really blame the pets. Cleaning has always been something I've put off until the last minute (aka the night before I have plans for someone to come over). Multiple pets just exacerbate the problem.

What do you mean? I picked up this cat toy. I'm very helpful.

I wish I had good advice to offer about how to stay on top of house cleaning with multiple pets, but the pets generally do their best to make housework even more difficult. Here are a few examples:

Carpets
Barley is not afraid of the vacuum. In fact, the vacuum tends to bring out her "hero mode." I spend several minutes picking up all of the dog toys from the floor before vacuuming and the second I turn on the vacuum she runs to get one out again. She'll drop it a good distance front of the vacuum, walk away, and then rush in at the last moment to save her toy.

Barley also hates the sight of a clean floor. When I finish vacuuming, she usually goes and grabs a mouthful of kitty litter and spits it out in the middle of the floor. Then there's all the fun stuff she tracks in from the yard--whether it's a snow covered toy or the little helicopter seed pod things.



Because Soth has bladder problems, we've become a 3-litterbox household. Since our apartment has limited non-carpeted spots, that means that we have litter boxes on the carpet and Soth likes to kick litter around. I spend a lot of time with the dustpan and a little brush trying to keep my carpets from being covered in litte (and we only use recycled paper litter in the boxes that are on carpet, which helps keep clay from being ground into the carpet).

With Soth's FLUTD, accidents are inevitable, so I bought a steam cleaner shortly after he was diagnosed. Usually, a few hours after I steam clean the carpets, he barfs on them. At first, I thought he might be reacting to the cleaning solution, but it also happens when I use water and vinegar or just straight water instead of cleaner. He peed on the steam cleaner that I had stored in a corner of the room for easy access, which leads me to the next point.

Organization
My apartment has a lot of closets. When Soth decided to pee on the steam cleaner, I had to make room in the closet for the steam cleaner. My bedroom closet also has really awesome shelves that I thought would be good for storing linens and sweaters.

What do you mean these shelves are for storage?

Soth was also determined to make it up to the top shelf in the closet. He'd stand on the back of the chair that's near my closet and leap. Sometimes, he would just barely make it on to the shelf and it's high enough that I was afraid he'd really get hurt. I tried just keeping the closet doors closed, but Soth figured out how to pull them open. So I had to come up with another solution--and now I have to rearrange things every time I need to get linens out of the closet or find a pair of shoes.

This is taller than I am, but it puts Soth right up to the top shelf safely.

Of course, now that he has access to even more of the shelves, he wants to have all of the shelves to himself and pulls things off of them to make his own little cat caves.

This comforter was in my way, so I pushed it out.

Laundry
Not only do the pets ensure that I need to do a lot of laundry, Soth also insists on helping to fold the laundry.

A freshly washed towel is too warm and snuggly to resist.

Barley's favorite part of doing laundry is when it's time to change the sheets on the bed. She loves to get tangled in the fitted sheet and hop up onto the bed between every step of putting new sheets on.



Dishes
Like laundry, the pets also create a lot of extra dishes to do. Soth needs to drink a lot of water because of his FLUTD, so we have 3 water bowls in our 2 bedroom apartment so that he's never far from water. Those have to be washed and refilled regularly. Soth also has to eat a lot of wet food in his diet, so I get to wash his little food dishes several times a day, too. Soth also insists that I do all of my dishes regularly by knocking coffee thermoses off the counters when he gets hangry.

Walls
Soth gets a lot of hair balls, so he gets regular doses of Cat Lax--which is basically this molasses-y, vaseline-like stuff that I put on his paw so he licks it off and then it coats the hairball and helps it pass through. Soth acts like he's been mortally wounded when you put Cat Lax on him, so he flicks his paw around and limps around until he realizes that it's not going anywhere. Except it does go everywhere. Soth is short--but somehow he manages to get that stuff all the way up around the light switches! And leaves a trail on the floors. And on the bed.

Why did you put this stuff on my toes?!

Cat Lax several feet up on the door frame.

Luckily, Barley is a good little helper and she follows him around and licks up whatever she can find, but I still find it in random spots throughout the house.

Trash
Barley loves trash. She doesn't out in the real world--she'll leave a slice of pizza in the middle of the sidewalk without batting an eyelash, but put an empty can of cat food or some leftovers dug out of the back of the fridge in the trashcan in the house and the second I go to the bathroom, she finds a way to get it out--even if it's at the bottom of the can--without making a noise or tipping it over. I thought if I got a trashcan that had a lid that was flush with the rest of the can instead of with a lip like our old one had, she'd have a harder time getting into it.


For about a month, it worked. But now she's got it figured out. Unfortunately, none of the stores near us had locking lids in our price range, so we're back to the drawing board on this one.

Barley and Soth have made me rethink my standards of cleanliness. There was a time when I was horrified by the thought of a litter box on a carpeted floor, but then I realized that a few more litter boxes in Soth's problem areas was much better than constantly cleaning the carpet. No matter how much Barley is brushed, she sheds all the time and I could vacuum multiple times a day and fill up the vacuum, so I've learned to keep myself sane by accepting a certain amount of dog hair on the carpet and vacuuming a couple times a week. Ultimately, I'd rather spend time hanging out with my pets than cleaning up after them, so we've learned to compromise--and next winter's cabin fever project will teaching Barley to pick up her own toys.

How do you keep your house from turning into a disaster zone with multiple pets? Seriously, please tell me all your secrets because I have no idea. Be sure to check out the other blogs linking up with Cascadian Nomads, Wag 'N Woof Pets, and My GBGV Life to see how other multi-pet homes keep up with cleaning and grooming!

17 comments:

  1. Barley's toy-saving routine is hilarious! Ruby and Boca bark at the vacuum so I usually put them on the patio for that chore. I know what you mean about your standards changing. Since my dogs are allowed on the furniture and sleep in bed with me, I have just made peace with dog hair.

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    1. Barley's not allowed on my couch (she gets the older love seat), so that's my one dog hair-free zone, but Soth sleeps on the back of it, so I have no cat-hair free zones!

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  2. Mr. N doesn't really add to my house cleaning. I do have to wash the sheets more often but that's about it. There is something to be said for non-shedding dogs! He knows an "off" command and "go to bed" which I'll use for doing laundry and putting the sheets on the bed. He does know how to clean up his toys and I sometimes make him but usually it's much faster to just do it myself lol.

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    1. Mr. N really is just a little dream dog! Barley knows the off command every time except when it's time to change the sheets--Soth isn't much better, either, since he likes to attack the sheets while I try to put them on, too. I just remind myself of how cute they are!

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  3. I so needed these housecleaning chuckles today, thank you. The kinds of things you do for your pets are something only someone else who is pet crazy would understand. But even I am not sure I would have a cat tree in front of my closet! You rock! Next time the dogs are running about with cat toys in their mouths, I guess I will have to thank them for helping me. When it comes to the miserableness of housekeeping and multiple pets, a massive sense of humor is the only way to survive it!

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    1. I tried setting heavy objects in front of the closet doors before breaking down and getting the cat tree, but I was still having to move something every single time I needed in the closet and Soth was still giving it his all to try to get in there ;)

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  4. I'm with ya--I'd rather spend time with the pets than clean up after them all the time! But yeah, since the pets have come into my life I have accepted a different standard of cleanliness. Maddux plays chicken with the vacuum (and always wins) so there's always a little patch of carpet that never gets vacuumed. He likes to play the jump on the bed while I'm putting fresh sheets on game, too. It might be harder to keep the house clean, but life is definitely more fun :-)

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    1. Maddux is just protecting his margarita-scented patch of carpet in the living room ;)

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  5. Our two biggest issues are Katie fur tumbleweeds blowing around all the time, and cat litter getting tracked around. No matter how many mats and other things we try, that darn litter always ends up all over the place! My mom doesn't like to clean either, fyi, but it has to be done. Thanks for joining the hop!

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    1. Litter is the worst! I've tried several different mats, too, but Soth usually decides he'd rather pee on the mat than in the box, so I've just given up on mats and make sure I sweep up around the boxes several times a day.

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  6. I love this post....I was sitting here smiling as I read it. You touched on every issue that multiple pets raise with house cleaning. Ultimately, I think it does come down to learning to live with a little more dirt and fur than we might normally like. Unless you enjoy housework, but no one really does, do they? Or if you have a maid...now wouldn't that be nice! :)
    Vacuuming is challenging around here because the dogs don't like it, so they have to be nervously going in and out while I'm doing it (it would make too much sense to just stay outside until I was done!). On the other hand, our beagle Kobi and our cat Conrad would not get out of the way of the vacuum!
    I have to come up with creative places to set the laundry basket with the clean laundry so Sam won't lie on top of it.
    So I certainly don't have any secrets to share! :)
    Thanks for joining the hop!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. A maid would be nice! Soth has helped me get better about folding laundry more quickly--I used to just leave it in the basket and take things out as I needed them, but he gives me that little extra nudge I need to empty the basket more quickly (and I love a nice warm towel, too, so I really can't blame him for wanting to help).

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  7. I think you should probably get rid of the dog. MOL! Just kidding—maybe. I’m a very clean cat. OK, so I put my stinky goodness on the rug before I eat it and I MIGHT throw litter out of the lidded box. Between my blog and everything else, I harly give TW a chance to do cleaning.

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    1. Soth probably thinks getting rid of the dog is the best solution, too--but since he's equally responsible for making messes, I guess I'll have to keep them both ;)

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  8. I haaaaate cleaning. I got a new mop from H20 to Home and I've used it ONE TIME. We just swim in the dog hair. It's a condiment and and accessory.

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    1. Oh mopping. That's one I ignore as much as possible because it seems impossible to keep up with. In the winter, we're constantly tracking in snow and salt, so mopping seems silly when it's only going to last a few minutes. Then in the spring/summer, that all switches to mud.

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  9. I think your pets are very cute. We all can relate to cleaning up after them. My dog tracks in a lot of mud. You see, she will go roll all in it like she's trying to camouflage herself. Then she jumps on the couch or bed and rolls all over them. I just gave up at one point.

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